As people may be aware, there is a corner of Court Lane Allotments where we have developed a Community Garden. The purpose of it, is to encourage schools and other community groups to have free use of the area. For example, there is a raised bed that is being used by Wilson Stuart School, which has been a great way to teach young people about growing vegetables.
We have some really exciting news about the development of this area. Last year, Court Lane Allotments committee applied to the Big Lottery Fund. We were succesful and have received money to develop the Community Garden area. There were a few hoops that we had to jump through, as the Big Lottery needs to make sure we can deliver on what we say we’re going to do. We also had to make sure that the Birmingham City Council’s Allotment Liaison Officer was happy with the plans. In short, we have received the green light for the project to go ahead. As previously, the aim is for all people to benefit from the Community Garden including schools, community groups, the public and of course, our own plot holders.
There was an open invitation to plot holders to discuss the Community Garden, and a meeting was held on 28th January of this year. It was a good turnout and the plotholders were very encouraging and supportive of the project. Any questions about the project were answered and the fact that the council has given the go ahead has hopefully answered any queries. Of course, we will continue to communicate with plot holders on the progress of the project and inform all the other people who have supported us (we’re talking about you, dear reader).
The plans for the Community Garden are as follows:
- Developing the existing space involving schools, community groups and plot holders – This will mean improving access for those who need extra mobility support, like wheelchair users and those with pushchairs. Inviting community groups and schools to have a little plot for free that they can use. Apart from the school and community group beds, any produce that grows on the Community Garden will be shared, for free, amongst plot holders and other users of the garden.
- Encourage beneficial wildlife like bees, butterflies and other insects – We will grow plants and flowers that will actively encourage pollinating insects that will benefit all plots on the allotments site. We currently have a bee hive enclosure in the garden area and we wish to encourage their well-being by having these plants.
- A herb and natural remedy area – We aim to grow herbs that can be used for cooking and other plants for cosmetic and remedial purposes. The idea is to have experts offer free courses to plot holders and members of the public who may be interested. There will be other free courses available and we welcome any suggestions.
The changes are only to the existing Community Garden space with the aim to improve the area so that it will be beneficial for all, and easier to maintain.
One of our plot holders has offered her garden design skills and has created a visual plan for us. In addition, other plot holders, who have landscaping expertise, have offered their services. This is showing that people value the project and want to help in developing a green space that really is “community” based.